Home stretch

Revelations come in such an unexpected place, in front of the people you think it shouldn’t happen with…

We started our last day visiting a public grade school that was named after Grandma Cora’s father. Children, the first time for many, saw us with our instruments and rushed into the courtyard where we set up to play for them! They came out to see what we’d play (as well as Karen’s hair) with so much excitement… it was hard to take a smile of my face the whole time we were there. It’s easy to get caught up in our practice, rehearsals, and indulge in our own issues as musicians sometimes; made me pretty joyful to see these kids wanting so much to talk to us and ask us questions. It’s good to be grateful for what opportunities we have had to travel, to make music, to be life-long learners.

We left the school in a sea of little students clamoring for questions, pictures, and autographs on their notebooks, but alas, we had to leave. So what’s this revelation? Well, as we were playing for this easy-going crowd, there’d be talking, there’d be laughing. But more than any other time, I think I had the most fun playing movements of the Dvorak and Schubert! Being outside, we had to perk up our ears to each other, but boy, I wanted to entertain and show the kids and teachers watching us the fun, the emotion, the dialogue involved in our music making!

Because I had been so at ease… (here comes my technical viola playing commentary on myself) in an instance, my wrist loosened, the weight of my arm fell beautifully on the strings, fingers moving in ways I could only talk about for the last two years in my lessons. Whoa. What happened? Little spiccato notes just flying with rhythmic integrity and sonorous tonality? (Yes, Dvorak, fourth movement, with the second violin…) What-wait a minute… It’s working now that I’m playing for this group, huh? It was a good realization of the origin/cause/factors of why I do what I do, and why I don’t do other things (physiologically speaking). Well, here’s to a good rest of the summer practicing! (Viola technique geek-out concluded. You may return your attention.)

With the morning gone, we enjoyed our last lunch with Grandma Cora, grandpa, Gloria and her son, Eduardo. I’ll miss my own room with the afternoons of practice, Facebooking, endless blogging, and bug-bite paranoia. (Photo with Jeff and OJ: he never failed to finish the pitcher of fresh-squeezed juice. We counted on it. Just look at his face.)

The rest of the afternoon, the quartet met with the television cameraman to re-record the Dvorak part of the weekend’s concert. They failed to capture it somehow, so we did a one take performance for him. Yikes. It was difficult, mainly to get yourself in the moment (despite the trip almost ending, a tiring day of playing already, and packing to get done back at home). Reminded me of our quartet recording for an album of Elizabeth Rickman. Of course, we were all students in the room and just words of wisdom and advice from our prof, Mike,… was the need to give it that fresh ‘first-time’ energy, but on EVERY take. It’s not easy. But the audience or listener won’t have the asterisk on their program or album saying ‘they were tired’, nor will they necessarily see you. They’ll be listening though, and you had better play like it were your first. Something should go here about being emotionally prepared too, otherwise you have to act it out. I think it does take that sometimes. Just do it, you know?

The night finished with Ingrid helping a teacher do a Suzuki method class for a big group of young students and their parents… we left, again, with many photo ops, exchanges, goodbyes, hugs, you know.

Once we got home, our final duties were set before us in the for of five hundred-some certificates to be signed by the four of us! Fun… hone in those glitzy A’s and K’s… those curly E’s and Z’s… ok that’s enough.

Are these posts really just… LONG? I’m not sure what one is to do. It’s like how Karen packs for the road, really. Get what you need, then cut it in half. I suppose I could still cut it. Let me know 🙂



  1. chilebob said

    no Max, these posts are just fine. Especially since we don’t get to see you at all this summer until you get back in July…and I only got one full minute to get to see you before you left again to my (hopefully) future home town. :o)

  2. Jessie Bullock said

    DON’T CUT IT!! It makes me feel like I get to be there with you!!

  3. Alex W. said

    If it makes you feel like you’re here then good! Cuz I need some company haha

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